Dear Class of 2016,

100_3307

Congratulations! You have reached the end of your high school career and are ready to embark on your next adventure. This can be a very exciting time or it could be a scary time. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

I was in your shoes not too long ago and I just wanted to share some things that I have learned since crossing that stage to get my diploma.

1)Keep in touch with the friends you have…

Odds are you have a few close friends which is great. It’s important to keep investing in these friendships which might get harder to do if you move far apart. Thankfully, there are so many ways to stay connected and never underestimate the importance of a good phone call once in awhile.

2)But don’t be afraid to make new ones.

If you are moving away, don’t close yourself off and just talk to people back home. There are going to be plenty of people starting who are in the same boat you are in and eager to make new friends.

3) Study what you love.

There are going to be plenty of people that push you to do certain things but at the end of the day if you aren’t studying what you love in order to have a career in something you love then you won’t be happy in the long run.

4) If you think you know what career you want, talk to someone in that field.

See if you can go to work with them and observe what they do from day to day. Don’t just ask what they love about it but ask what is the most challenging. This might encourage you to stay on the track you are own or open your eyes to other options.

5) Don’t get stuck in the past.

After the first initial weeks of college have gone by and the excitement wears off you will find yourself asking a lot of questions. Is this really what I want? Do I want to live this close to home or do I want to move further away?

Homesickness will sink in but use this as an opportunity to do some soul-searching. Sometimes when life gets uncomfortable there are lessons to be learned and you just might find strengths you didn’t even know you had.

6) Enjoy each opportunity that comes your way.

If you aren’t careful, your calendar will quickly fill up with things to do and papers to write. Instead of just trying to get through each day use that as an opportunity to be an encourager when everyone else has something negative to say.

7)Turn your work in on time.

This might sound like a no brainer but believe me it’s an important one. It also develops a good work ethic and even if your professor fails to acknowledge it you can pride yourself on doing a god job and doing what was asked of you.

8) Explore your surroundings.

Whether you are moving to a brand new town or in the same place you have always been it never hurts to have a change of scenery. It breaks up the monotony of your routine and can even give you a new perspective.

9)Travel!

Travel. Travel. Travel as much as you possibly can. The memories you make are priceless!

10) Don’t be so hard on yourself.

We all hit a bump in the road at times and probably more so in college. We will make mistakes and we will struggle but that doesn’t mean that we have to stay there and feel bad for ourselves. Use every wrong choice as a learning experience and an opportunity to do better next time. This is true when it comes to classes as well. You have to work hard in each class and if you are struggling it’s ok to ask for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness. The only sign of weakness is not asking for help at all and trying to do it all by yourself. That only leads to a bruised ego and burn out.

11)Try something you never have before.

I don’t mean this in the stereotypical college way (alcohol and drugs). I mean if something sparks your interest like a cooking class or kickboxing class then go for it. I took a karate class and it was awesome! It’s nice to step out of our comfort zone every once in a while and broaden our horizons.

12) Stay true to who you are.

Yes, college is a time for great discovery but in a world that is constantly trying to make you something you are not it’s nice to see people who are authentic. You will be proud of that fact too.

13) Remember where you came from.

Yes, I’m from the South and roots run deep but I’m so thankful for that. The values that are instilled in you at an early age are a blessing and not a curse, although I know at times it might feel like it.

14) Thank your teachers.

I have a friend who recently wrote a letter to her teachers thanking them for the time they invested in her. I wish I had done something like that! I do remember, taking the time to tell them thank you and the older I get the more thankful I am for them. I also think that becoming a teacher made me realize how much more important it is to do so. No one wants to feel overlooked and although they might not show it, it does hurt if you don’t show your appreciation. And let’s face it, you wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

15)Thank your family.

This should go without saying but just in case you need to reminded this important as well. I know we all come from different home lives and different backgrounds but thank them the best way you can. You’ve only been in their lives for 17-18 years but for most parents, that has been the best years of their whole life and you are their whole world.

16)Don’t rush it!

Last but not least, don’t rush this next chapter of your life away. If you are like me, you probably had a calendar counting down days to graduation. I couldn’t wait to go my dream college and for my life to “begin”. If I could do one thing over, I would go back and tell that high school girl “Your life has already begun. Enjoy each moment but don’t keep looking for the next moment to check off your list. Each day is full of opportunities to grow and learn and be a better version of yourself. Don’t get lost in the crazy fast pace of this world.”

And before you know it, the dreams you have been chasing are right in front of you and life keeps going on.

As Kenny Chesney once said, “Don’t blink! It really does go by faster than you think!”

CSC_3875

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Waiting Game

 Can I be completely honest with you? I’m sick of waiting.

I’m sick of waiting for the perfect boyfriend, the perfect job, the perfect hair day, etc.

Some days are easier than others but some days just make me want to fast forward and do things my way. I’ve been down that road though. I know the sting of regret that comes with it and know that God promises to work ALL things for good for me because I am his daughter and he is the God of the universe. He totally has whatever I’m waiting for covered.

The enemy whispers that I deserve more and if I’m being honest, most days I fall for that lie every single time.

Perhaps you recognize a few of them….

If you don’t go out and try the ways of the world you will never fully live your life. (Most of the time this is an easy lie to spot but satan is sneaky and will always hit you where you are weakest).

If you forgive someone it makes you weak.(Huge lie- in fact makes you that much stronger).

Thing are the way they are and they will always be that way. (False! My God is a God of redemption and healing and there is no choice and no person that he can not transform through His Holy Spirit!)

There are many others but maybe you at least identify with one of these and if you are like me you realize that you seek more and more you end up feeling l less and less. This world may never run out of desires to offer us but it will always fall short of giving us what we truly need. It’s full of half promises but  remember, a half promise is a full blown lie.

So, if you find yourself like me always asking “what am I waiting for?” I have some good news. The Lord tells us in Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord!”

I love this verse and the hope that it brings but I still find myself asking “How long Lord?”.

There are countless times in the Bible where people were left asking the same question. David for instance is the one who wrote Psalms and had many incidences where he looked to the Lord for guidance. After all, even God said he was a man after His own heart, far be it from perfect though (check out 2 Samuel 11- it reads like a Lifetime movie).

One other person I think of that faced long periods of waiting is Joseph. Not only was he the favored son of Jacob but he also had the gift to interpret dreams. This obviously caused a rift between him and his brothers. So much so, they conspired together and sold him into slavery. To be betrayed by family is enough to send anyone reeling but Joseph remained faithful to God and trusted his plan, however difficult it was to understand.

After living in Egypt for some time, an Egyptian official named Potiphar took notice of Joseph’s hard work and asked him to go work for him. Genesis 39:2 even says “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered,”. That was until Potiphar’s wife took notice of him, for other reasons. She constantly tried to gain his approval but he always ignored her advances. Finally, she cornered him and he fled but left his cloak which gave her the chance to devise a lie about how he had tried to come on to her (talk about a desperate housewife). After she told her husband he had Joseph put in jail.

Now at this point you are probably asking “Is the Lord still with Joseph?”

The answer is- Yes!

Genesis 40:21-23 tells us, “the Lord was with him and showed him kindness.”

In a strange number of events Joseph was able to walk out of prison and was put in charge of all of Egypt because of his gift of to interpret dreams. The famine came just as he had interpreted and the famine even caused some unsuspecting guests to find their way into Egypt, the very brothers who had betrayed him. They didn’t even recognize Joseph but after a turn of events, he revealed who he was (they had presumed he was dead) and Joseph was reunited with all of his family, including his father and he even saved his land from famine.

Don’t you just love that what the enemy intends for bad God turns it around and uses it for good?

What a mighty God we serve! He’s the only one who holds our lives in his hands and he orchestrates every single detail. He is indeed a good good father and wants only the best for his children.

Psalm 94:19 also says, “When anxiety is great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

Did you catch that? he brings joy to our soul!  I don’t know about you but I would rather have everlasting joy than temporary happiness!

So if you are worried, scared, or frustrated tell God about it. Don’t hold back, he already knows all our thoughts anyway!  And don’t forget to tell him about your joys and triumphs as well!

He longs to be with us in the good times just as much as when he helps us in the tough times.

Ask him for guidance.

Ask him for understanding.

And above all ask Him to give you a heart that chases after Him.

When your eyes are on Him, you will see Him in everything you do.  And yes, you can even find him in the midst of waiting too. 🙂